Written by Wally Wallace Thursday, 08 August 2013 14:59
RaceFace Narrow Wide Chainrings have been one of the hottest products here at Bikeman lately. And for good reason... they rule! We wrote a little piece a few weeks back about the Ultimate Single Ring Set Up of which this chain ring is an integral part. When used with a SRAM type 2 or Shimano Shadow Plus "clutch" style rear derailleur it is almost impossible to throw the chain. We stress the "almost" and probably wouldn't recommend using it with out a chain retention system for DH/Freeride rigs, but it's pretty darn tough to to throw a chain when running a short cage clutch style rear derailleur.
The magic chain retaining ability of these chainrings comes from the way the teeth are machined, check out the pic below. The additional material on every other tooth and complimentary hollow for each outer plate of the chain and creates a ton more contact surface between chain and chainring. Take a look at your chain and check out the spaces where the teeth of your chainring insert. See how there are two different size spaces. That where the biggest improvement over conventional rings lies. By taking up the extra interior space found in every other link of the chain with "+" shaped tooth you virtually eliminate slop and play. And no, there isn't a noticeable increase in friction, things still pedal like normal. If anything it makes power transmission feel more powerful and direct.
Lets face it, your legs are huge and a conventional chainring can't handle your kind of power...you NEED this ring ;)
Down to specifics. These babies are only available in a 4 bolt, 104bcd bolt pattern and are 9/10/11 speed compatible. As of right now rings are available in red, blue, green, and black in 30t, 32t, 34t,36t, & 38t. The 30t version is something we're pretty psyched about and a it's pretty cool how they did it. Take a look at the image below...there are two cool things going on with the bolt holes there that made it possible to fit a 30t on a 104bcd 4 bolt crank. On our east coast trails we don't find ourselves spinning out all that often so the extra 2 teeth for the low end is great! We're hoping they release a 42t 110bcd version for cyclocross sometime soon!
The RaceFace Narrow Wide Chainring is a simple solution to a common set of problems. If you're thinking of going single ring up front you should grab one of these chainrings!
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